Going for Ride with Friends

Going for Ride with Friends

Sunday, February 8, 2009


We awoke 0345 Sunday morning and found Northwest Airlines (by the way, they are tucked into terminal 1 and must be a poor neighbor because their flights aren't even posted on the electronic board). Though a little stressed as we were running slow, we made it to Tokyo and on to Minneapolis getting through customs by 1230 (which was 0230 to us). We made it to Dayton and home to Middletown at 1930 which places us 24 hours plus from Singapore. The girls did well. I would place one girl on the right aisle and another on the left, blow a whistle and time them to see how fast they could touch the front wall of the 747. Miriam won, but Hannah was close as she had to jump over the stewardess' cart as they were serving supper. Wouldn't that be fun if one could race? We do vote that 747's be retired as they don't have the personal entertainment systems that the newer planes have. My wife vowed not to take four young girls on such a long trip any time soon, but hey, they'll be older in a year. We praise God for His goodness to us. We hope that we didn't offend too many people and that we didn't set back His kingdom too long. We were very blessed by the many people who cared for us, served us, and graciously hosted us in their homes. Lifespring should be very honored to partner with the Collins in building the kingdom of God in Cambodia.

Now let me end this with a final dance:

Saturday, February 7, 2009

In Singapore

Well, the last message is garbled because there were to be pictures inbetween the sentences. Well one can only try. We are leaving from Changi Airport at 0600 tomorrow which means we will be waking up at 0345 to start the day. We look forward to sleeping in our own beds soon. dasen


I wish we could fly these little planes more often. Some thoughts: The area that my parents are in is now better off from an infrastructural standpoint than it were before the tsunami. The Red Cross/Crescent has now given permanent housing for around 15000 dollars per family. The houses are earthquake proof with solid construction. They have special filtering pits beside the house for water purification. People were often given starter moneys and so many have brand new motor scooters. The ~7billion plus aid has gone a long way toward reconstruction. Isn't it interesting that the large loss has led to this change in housing and lifestyle. Ninety thousand people lost to the tsunami is a high price to pay. Walking under the coconut trees that are the marker for the height of the waves is just hard to get over. On our trip we were in many airports so let me show you the variety.

MAF North of Teunom where luggage and passengers were weighed.

Meloboh [sic], Aceh; Singapore; Medan (taking pictures with a Chinese dance troop), respectively

Here are some trip photos from Medan and our trip to Aceh:

An appropriate sign for the developing world.

Let's land at Meloboh (the runway is at the top of the picture).

Even the water was warm, but we got to play a little (Elle got all wet).

The permanent housing is now in the front and the temporary housing has been moved to the back to be used as a kitchen. As you can see, they too are being corrupted by the 100+ channels as they buy their satellite dishes. The water filter system is to the right of the house on the left where the grass is growing.

My parents' open house for us where Hadiah is singing the Hokey Pokey with the 5th/6th graders. The girls did very well with the other kids.

Teammates Santy/Teddy/Jayden and Ferdinand/Feiny/Gabriella from Manado working with my parents

Lunch with Dad's foreman's (Pak Mustafa) family. Some of us liked it and some didn't-can you guess which ones?

We hope that relationships between neighbors which often start around children lead to faith.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Friday Morning

It is Friday morning at 0730 and I couldn't get Rebecca to take a cold "mandi" or dipper bath. Ever since our trip to Borneo in 1997 she has not enjoyed the fresh feel of cold showers in the tropics. The great thing is that my parents don't enjoy cold showers either so heated water on the stove is a ready supplement to any bath. At least I have Hadiah and Hannah on my side. Elle awoke at 0200 yelling for a drink and food. I sat with her as she ate dry cornflakes and drank water. She then went back to bed this time not in her play pen but with her three sisters in bed. At 0400 Rebecca left quickly and came back to our bed with Miriam who fell off the side (she was fine). At 0430 when the masjid started morning prayers, we awoke again but stayed in bed. The electricity went out for a couple of minutes during prayers which brought some silence to this poorly spiritual disciplined Christian. The only problem was that the lights were all out and Rebecca and I were on edge. All is well. Elle's fever is no more. She had 4 small bowls of Cheerios this morning which is a sure fine that she is well. Miriam just got up from bed and the day is into "move ahead" mode.

We were on edge because last night a teenage girl came searching to establish faith. Mom and Dad sat out front while we prayed and got ready for bed. Hadiah wondered if this would be the best night of my parents stay here. Hannah fought with us about something. Elle and Miriam played with this and that. Rebecca and I had visions of angry villagers coming against the infidels. My parents were wonderfully appropriate and wise, but I was struck by being "spooked" by such a thing. I talk of Christian witness presenting itself from the "weak" position of love and truth. Yet, I really am more comfortable with the position of power and influence. Who has the power? I glibbly say that God has "the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, amen." What I want to have is Hadiah's attitude of excitement at God's working in the world rather than my quick suspicion with self centered care.

I would love to send you pictures of our stay here, but I'll have to send in retrospect as my parents "flexiphone" system is just slightly more potent that dial-up. We are about to meander back to Middletown and look forward to snow and our own beds. Ok so I don't miss the cold weather that much. dasen

Thursday Morning-Rebecca

Today is the last full day of our trip in which we are not in transit. We are at Dasen’s parents’ house in Teunom. Mom and Dad Ritchey have gone to 2 funerals to take rice to the families. The girls are temporarily next door at the language learning center that Dad and Mom started. They have a couple computer programs for kids there that Hannah and Miriam are especially enjoying. Hadiah and I enjoyed a card game and some good bonding, while Elle played with us each in turn. Dasen is napping after reading a book to Elle. Last night was a difficult night for us as Elle was awake quite a bit. Since coming to Mom and Dad’s she’s had a significant fever and belly ache. She reported this morning that her belly ache is going down and God is healing her. She is still on Tylenol and ibuprofen to keep the fever down, as she has been feverish on and off. It has been quite draining and a bit stressful to have her sick as I get concerned for her, and it’s hard to balance priorities when we are visiting with people here such a short time.
Yesterday, Mom and Dad hosted an open house for us- something new to this culture. It was stressful for mom b/c she didn’t know who would come, how much food to get, or where to put people- the men, women, and children all visit in different areas. It turned out lovely though, and we are so glad to have been a part of that. About 6 or 7 women came and sat with me on and off. We talked about their children and families and Dad translated. Our worlds can seem so similar, with similar desires and hopes, yet so radically different that it’s hard to even know what to ask sometimes. I also talked and played with about 12 grade school kids out front, then Hadiah “hosted” about 15 girls in 5th or 6th grade who have studied English with Mom. They all wore head coverings with long sleeves and dresses. Dasen sat outside on the side of the house visiting with several men. Mom and Miriam and Elle floated in and out of groups. Elle slept or sat on my lap while being feverish.
Shortly we are leaving for a special Acehnese luncheon being hosted for us by Dad’s head worker- Pak Mustafa. He is Islamic and helps to follow through with Dad’s projects. I have been so impressed with Mom and Dad on multiple levels. They have learned the secret of being content in God- not dependant on external comforts. They sacrifice their family bonding, mutual Western friendships, a home church, a kitchen that has a sink and clean water, a “normal” sit down toilet, entertainment, and so much more, and yet they count it as joy. They believe God’s love is greater and more worthwhile. Mom washes dishes sitting on a little plastic stool, and believes God has led her incrementally to be fine with all this. I see God’s grace at work and I rejoice that the same God is incrementally working in me. And I rejoice that God loves these Acehnese people in Sumatra enough to send my mother and father-in-law to them. Their neighbors greatly respect them, as do the two other Christian families from other parts of Indonesia who are here as part of their team. The 2 other families are probably in their late 20’s or early 30’s and both families have a child about 18 months old. How amazing to see this multi-cultural, multi-generational team serving here together- truly unique and beautiful.
I hear the Islamic call to prayer from the mosque. It is actually rather melancholy and lovely. I like the reminder to pray. May we all be prompted to follow suite and the lead of the Spirit.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In Teunom

We finally arrived in Medan and were met by my parents who used three taxis to get us to the hotel. We got to bed after midnight and awoke early to get to the airport for our trip to the west coast. Some random thoughts: It is nice to have language to communicate with people. Little planes are fun to ride on. We took pictures of some visiting Chinese taking pictures of our girls. The ocean is not developed here without a hotel in sight. Hot and humid. I've always wondered why I didn't grow up in a more native village setting with the Indonesians, but my parents have saved up till now and are doing the village thing full bore. When you can stand in the surf lapping at one's ankles and look back at the coconut tries way above your head a hundred yards back and know that the tsunami's second wave (out of three) was at the level of the trees, the natural power is awe inspiring. God is bigger. Dasen

Monday, February 2, 2009

Stuck at Changi

It is good to do what you are gifted in doing.
Dance! It does the body good.

Lumps and bumps are great to remove, but when they're near the base of the skull it makes it even more fun especially under local anesthetic.

What every child should be doing, playing in the dirt with their imaginations

The Vietnamese live their whole lives on the river as their houses float and land is unavailable for them to buy

A new Christian shares his testimony while a rural medical outreach goes on

I'll try to upload some of my favorites from our time in Cambodia. We have good news that pertains to being stuck in the nicest airport in the world. The only problem is our 2+ hour delay into Medan leaving now at 2155 instead of 1900. We are in the terminal where Rebecca is trying to put Elle down for a nap on a coach as she was pulling a fit lying on the terminal floor crying. The other kids our in front of a television watching cartoons. We took a free tour of a small section of the city and ate some free offereings from a food bar. The kids remained hungry as they tried some different food stuff and then fed it to me. I was quite content and full. They watched a "dragon" dance with the drums and cymbals as the far east continues to celebrate Chinese New Years. After all that, we still have plenty of time to wait. We didn't bring our swimsuits so we won't go swimming in the airport pool, we might visit the butterfly garden, the spa with massage is too old for the girls, but we do get free meals as the plane was delayed. May God bless His kingdom and may it be on earth as it is in heaven. dasen

Leaving Cambodia

We have left the country of Cambodia and arrived in Singapore, local time 1300. We will be here until 1900 when we fly to Medan to meet up with my parents. We have been very blessed through our visit to Cambodia and our time with the Collins. Hadiah thought her favorite part was the puppies at the site of the future Mercy Medical Center, and Elle thought the best part was the cows and pigs. I don't even remember seeing any pigs. We look forward to our next stage and will keep you posted as able. dasen